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Michelin, USWA reach tentative labor agreements

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Michelin North America Inc. and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) have reached a tentative agreement covering some 3,400 union workers at three BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing plants and one Canadian facility.

Details of the tentative agreements, reached earlier today, will not be disclosed pending ratification by the USWA membership at the four facilities, according to a Michelin spokesman.

"We´re pleased to have reached agreements that will provide the framework for making our BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing plants viable," says Dave Lowe, Michelin North America´s vice president of labor and employee relations.

"These plants provide quality products for our customers and contribute greatly to their local economies. We´ve achieved pioneering agreements that help provide some of our oldest plants in North America a fighting chance in today´s challenging business environment and a very competitive industry."

BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing, an operating division of Michelin North America, oversees three plants in the United States. The USWA members-to-total employees breakdown at each BFGoodrich facility is as follows (with the year it opened in parentheses):

1. Opelika, Ala. (1963): 1,168 union employees, 1,376 total employees (84.9%).

2. Tuscaloosa, Ala. (1945): 1,111 union employees, 1,270 total employees (87.5%).

3. Fort Wayne, Ind. (1961): 1,132 union employees, 1,308 total employees (86.5%).

Michelin also tentatively came to terms with 1,000 union workers at its Kitchener, Ontario, plant in Canada, where workers had been picketing since June 1. The Kitchener facility opened in 1962.

The four Michelin tire plants involved in the negotiations have a combined manufacturing capacity of 93,500 passenger and light truck tires per day, according to Modern Tire Dealer´s 2004 Facts Issue. They are the four oldest plants among Michelin´s 15 North American tire manufacturing facilities.

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